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Jaffke vacates Kaneland AD post

Longtime Kaneland athletic director Leigh Jaffke resigned her position effective Wednesday night, Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler confirmed Thursday.

Jaffke tendered her resignation in a letter to school officials Wednesday. It was accepted later in the day in executive session at the end of a District 302 school board meeting at Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove.

Schuler did not discuss the contents of Jaffke’s letter or possible reasons behind her departure.

“We didn’t have any prior discussion directly with her about a resignation,” Schuler said.

Assistant principal Mike Rice will oversee athletics on a short-term basis before Kaneland likely pursues another interim candidate for the remainder of the school year, Schuler said.

The timing of Jaffke’s resignation leaves Kaneland waiting until the spring to begin the search for a full-time successor beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Officials are uncertain whether the interim candidate will come from within District 302 or externally. Jaffke became Kaneland’s athletic director in 2000.

“We have not solidified a plan, but certainly [are] ... making sure that we’re continuing to provide the service from inside the athletic department that the community, the coaches and the athletes expect,” Schuler said.

A 1980 West Aurora graduate, Jaffke starred in basketball for three seasons and played collegiately as a center at East Tennessee State. Jaffke could not be reached for comment.

Kaneland boys soccer coach Scott Parillo said he was surprised Thursday to learn about Jaffke, with whom he has worked throughout his 13-year coaching tenure. He said he had no insight into the seemingly abrupt timing.

“It’s a bummer, it’s a little shocking, but I wish her the best,” Parillo said.

Schuler said Kaneland officials Thursday sent a letter to athletes’ parents regarding Jaffke’s resignation.

“We indicated we appreciate her service and her dedication to the athletic program in the past 14 years,” Schuler said, “because certainly she’s been a part of a lot of it.”

• Jay Schwab contributed to this report. 


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